Shouldn't A.J. McCarron be an emotional roller coaster right now? From the excitement of his recent engagement to longtime girlfriend Katherine Webb to the uncertainty over what team will call his name in the 2014 NFL Draft to that unrelenting feud with Darnell Dockett on Twitter, the Mobile, Ala. native surely has enough on his plate to potentially drive him crazy. However, when we recently caught up with A.J., he seemed awfully calm about his current situation. Maybe it's because McCarron has been through much worse and come out stronger in the end.
On Aug. 4, 1996, a young A.J. was severely injured in a WaveRunner accident which nearly took his life. Doctors went as far as to inform his mother that he might die. But fast forward nearly two decades later, the now 23-year-old, who has a scar on the right side of his head, is a three-time BCS National Champion, and a recipient of both the 2013 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the 2013 Maxwell Award, which is voted on by sportswriters, sportscasters and NCAA coaches and given to the top collegiate player of the year.
As A.J. eagerly anticipates opening the next chapter of his football career, we spoke to the former 'Bama quarterback about teaming up with AXE Hair, being overlooked during the draft process and what makes him feel just a little nervous.
Interview by Jose Martinez (@ZayMarty)
What made you want to align yourself with AXE Hair?
This isn't my first time teaming up with AXE Hair gels. The first time was around the Super Bowl. It's a great company. They have a great reputation and a lot of incredible people working for them. It's fun to be around. The products they have are unbelievable, so I thought it was a no-brainer to team up with them again and promote their new hair gels. They have three different styles and the one I always wear is the Messy Look Matte Hold Gel which gives my hair a real solid look with no shine at all. It basically looks like you're not wearing anything and it has a 24-hour hold which helps when you're playing sports.
So, we have to ask. What does the fiancé, Katherine Webb, think about the product?
She's actually used the product before. When her hairspray doesn't work and I have the gel on me, she'll run a little of it through her hair. It doesn't have the crunch or flaky look to it. Kat loves it.
Yeah, I feel like I'm overlooked but at the same time, it doesn't even matter. Not even my opinion matters. When I first got to Alabama, our offensive line coach told us, "What's the point of complaining when nobody is going to listen anyway?" That's how I've taken this whole thing on.
Could there be any AXE Hair gel commercials in your future?
I don't know. You'll have to ask the people at AXE. I mean, you never know. Maybe one day.
Is acting in a commercial something you would be interested in pursuing when you're comfortable with where your football career is at?
Yeah, definitely. I think I would be great in one of their commercials. [Laughs.] I feel like I got the look for it, so that's all up to them.
With the 2014 NFL Draft on the horizon, if you could describe how you're feeling these days in one word, what would it be?
Blessed. When I started playing football at the age of three, I never thought I would be in this situation. I feel like I worked very hard to achieve my dream and it's finally becoming a reality.
During the process so far, there has been a lot of focus on quarterbacks like Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. Do you ever feel as though after your strong college football career you're being slightly overlooked?
Yeah, I feel like I'm overlooked but at the same time, it doesn't even matter. Not even my opinion matters. When I first got to Alabama, our offensive line coach told us, "What's the point of complaining when nobody is going to listen anyway?" That's how I've taken this whole thing on. There's no reason for me to voice an opinion. I'm going to fall wherever God has planned for me and I'll make the most of it then.
Looking at the landscape of current NFL receivers, is there any guy you would love to call your No. 1 wideout next season?
I've always been a fan of Andre Johnson. I used to watch him play since I was a huge Miami Hurricanes fan growing up. He's an unbelievable athlete and receiver.
As a huge Hurricanes fan, was there any thought about going to Miami instead of Alabama when you were deciding on colleges?
Yeah, I thought about it for a long time. But around the time when I had to make a decision, they had the fight and the shootings where two guys got shot outside of their apartment complex, so my mom wasn't going to let me go there.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. As someone who has a lot of tattoos, have you encountered questions regarding your ink during the draft process?
I've been asked a couple times. Like, "what's up with the tattoos?" But I basically tell them that everybody has a thing that they do. Whether it's fishing or hunting or driving trucks, tattoos are my thing. It's a personal preference and if someone doesn't like me because of my tattoos, then they're a very insecure person.
He [Darnell Dockett] is a grown man, I'm a grown man and we're both going to handle our business when it comes to football. Just because we may not be the best of friends off the field doesn't mean anything.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I played the piano for seven years. I used to be really good at it. I don't how good I am now, though.
You don't even play it here and there?
I mean, it has been like three years [since I last played].
Was that the only instrument you played?
Yeah, that was the only instrument I played. I had to stop because sports got in the way.
So, what was a more nerve-racking experience: playing in a BCS Championship Game or proposing?
I don't think either one was nerve-racking, to be honest with you. Proposing was easy because I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think she was going to say yes. As for football, the hardest part is the moments leading up to the game. I never got nervous before big games. It's only games where we were expected to win against lesser competition where I ever felt like I got nervous.
Looking into the future, how is it going to feel to be in the NFL which includes Darnell Dockett, who you've had a history with? [Ed. Note—the interview was conducted prior to Dockett's recent tweet directed at McCarron and Webb.]
I don't see anything wrong with it. It's not like we're the first people who have disagreed or have a conflict on something. He is a grown man, I'm a grown man and we're both going to handle our business when it comes to football. Just because we may not be the best of friends off the field doesn't mean anything.
How would feel if you guys turn out to be teammates? Would you try and just squash this beef once you get in there?
Yeah, I would just make sure we were both focused on the team and winning football games. Hopefully, he has forgotten or just dropped it. But if not, if the opportunity comes around where I'm on the team with him, I'll take it upon myself to make sure it's over.